Gov. Blagojevich has announced a $1.8 billion investment proposal to create 80-miles of dedicated lanes on the Illinois Tollway to allow enhanced express bus services, carpooling, and energy-efficient vehicles to bypass heavy traffic congestion.
On Oct. 15, Ill.
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and the Illinois Tollway unveiled a plan to implement
‘Green Lanes’ onIllinois toll roads by 2010. These would be
dedicated lanes for carpoolers carrying two or more people, high-efficiency
vehicles (such as hybrids, electric, or fuel cell cars), and solo drivers who
will be allowed to drive in the Green
Lane for an additional fee. As part of the proposal,
increased express bus services and transit amenities will complement the
80-miles of Green Lanes to provide people with speedy, efficient alternatives to
get them where they need to go.
The $1.8 billion green lane
investment will provide several benefits for the region. Carpool lanes in other
states including California, which accounts for 40 percent of
all carpool lanes in the country successfully reduce emissions by decreasing
stop-and-go traffic and providing a smooth, steady-flowing passage. MPC’s recent
at the Speed of Congestion study found congestion in Illinois costs $33
million per year in environmental damages and another $5.1 billion in wasted
time. By designating Green Lanes, more cars will be able to bypass the
bottlenecks choking our region.
Opponents have argued additional
fees increase burdens on the less affluent and benefit the wealthy. However, the
proposed Green Lanes benefit all because they provide the option to travel on a
dedicated lane quickly and efficiently when it is necessary. The fee incurred by
a solo driver may be worth more to the parent stuck in traffic who would
otherwise be forced to pay hefty late fees at a daycare. Additionally, increased
bus service and better transit connections -- with park-and-ride facilities or
express routes -- enable riders to bypass heavy traffic congestion altogether
and provide a quick, more reliable trip to their destination.
They are helping regions across the
country alleviate congestion, reducing the amount of exhaust emissions polluting
the air and provide for a better, cleaner environment. There are currently more
than 100 carpool lanes covering approximately 2,300 lane miles throughout the
U.S. The Chicagoland area anticipates a
growth of more than 2 million additional residents in the next 20 years. The Green Lanes
would be the type of innovative solution the region needs to get people out of
daily bumper-to-bumper traffic and into a healthier and higher quality
Read MPC's testimony in
support of the Green Lanes program